Harvard University Sanctions Greek Life, Single-Sex Organizations

In a bold move on May 6, Harvard University President Drew Faust announced sanctions against individuals in single-sex organizations on campus, including fraternities, sororities, and final clubs, none of which are officially recognized by the institution. The sanctions forbid members from acquiring leadership positions in recognized student groups and from becoming team captains on any university athletic team. The policy won’t take effect until the Class of 2021, who will be admitted as freshman in the fall of 2017.

Citing the organizations as cultivators of “privilege” and “exclusion,” Faust made the move in response to recommendations made by the Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana’s, according to Harvard’s student newspaper, The Crimson. 

The announcement comes on the heels of several years worth of Title IX investigations as detailed by the U.S. Department of Education. A list citing 55 higher-education institutions was released by the USDE in 2014 and included both Harvard College and Frostburg State University as institutions with ongoing investigations. Reform of Harvard’s campus sexual assault prevention strategy has been cited as a contributing factor to the decision.

Organizations may opt to become co-educational entities on the campus before 2017, allowing members to avoid the sanctions. Implementation of the policy and follow-up, including evaluation, is to be determined by a university committee.

Unlike Harvard, Frostburg State University recognizes Greek organizations that meet national requirements and abide by university procedures and polices. Currently, FSU recognizes ten fraternities, four sororities, and six professional Greek organizations.

Featured image credit: (Angela N./Flickr)

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